Eq: Total Market
While a lot of sentiment is starting to look more positive, Deutsche Bank has just come out with the exact opposite opinion. The bank has gone on the record warning that a recession will arrive very shortly, and that stock prices should be at least 13% lower than they are. The bank’s chief global strategist said, “We are cautious on stocks. We would argue you want to be defensively positioned [and] we would argue that the U.S. equity market has run way, way ahead of growth”. He continued “Every time payrolls growth has gone below 1%, the U.S. has ended up in recession. We would argue the U.S. economy is dangerously close to...tipping into recession”. US jobs growth is currently at 1.3% and slowing.
FINSUM: This is a really bearish outlook from an investment bank, which tend to trend towards over-bullishness. We question the valuation argument, but this is certainly a view worth noting.
Most of this summer was dominated by the dual fears of a trade war and a recession. A weakening of underlying economic data backed up the view that we may be headed for a recession, and the long yield curve inversion only heightened those fears. However, new economic data is providing a pretty strong rebuttal to those ideas. The last four economic releases, including home sales, jobless claims and beyond, have all come back more strongly than forecast.
FINSUM: The economy never looked that bad, as it was mostly the yield curve and trade war that pushed fears of a downturn. Accordingly, we don’t think these recent data releases will have much of an effect one way or the other.
With the Fed coming in less dovish than expected this week, there is suddenly much more anxiety in the market. Without a clear direction on rates, and with lingering worries about the economy, the outlook for stocks and bonds is not clear. And as we all know, markets hate uncertainty. Accordingly, the search for the best recession-proof stocks continues, and we have a new proposal today: fast food stocks. As consumer spending falls in a recession, bargain-providing companies, like fast food, often do well. The sector also provides healthy dividends. Take a look at the usual suspects: McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Chipotle, and some you may not have thought of, like Cracker Barrel and Restaurant Brands International.
FINSUM: The “Dollar menu” suddenly becomes very attractive to the American consumer when times start getting tough. These stocks seem a good bet, especially because they have solid dividends, which should provide some protection in case a downturn doesn’t happen.
Investors may be a little hazy on how forthcoming Fed rate cuts might affect stocks. One kind of assumes they will be positive, but then again, rate cuts mean the economy is worsening, so the picture becomes a little hazy. Well, a pair of top research analysts have just weighed in on the question and say the market’s reaction is likely to be positive. The year after a second rate cut stocks generally rise strongly, with the Dow up an average of about 20% in the next one year. However, this only holds if it is not too late to hold off a recession. That said, the gains from a second cut have often been immediate, “Perhaps because the second cut demonstrates the Fed’s commitment, or perhaps because the liquidity from the first cut had begun to work through the system, the gains have been immediate, with an average jump of 9.7% three months after the second cut”, say analysts at Ned Davis Research.
FINSUM: As we have said recently, we think the market is re-entering a post-Crisis goldilocks phase consisting of an accommodative Fed and a not-too-weak economy, the combination of which is very supportive of asset prices.
So let’s say you are in the bullish camp and think the US-China trade spat will be resolved soon. What is the best way to profit from that development? All stocks will likely rise, and bond yields will probably rise too. But where will the best gains be? How about small caps. The argument here may seem counterintuitive, but shows an evolution in thinking on the part of investors. At the start of the trade war, many thought small caps would do well as they are less exposed to international trade. However, thinking has changed and investors are now much more focused on which sectors are most exposed. This has led small caps to have a rough year compared to large caps, mostly because there are so many financial stocks in the small cap sector. That said, a resolution of the trade war would suspend downward pressure on rates and allow the sectors which have beaten up to flourish, offering disproportionate gains for small caps.
FINSUM: This is a fairly sophisticated argument based on the proportion of beaten up stocks that are in the small cap asset class. However, it does make a lot of sense.
If you asked almost anyone in the industry, the answer would be the same: it is Millennials with whom ESG investing is very popular, “we just can’t get older generations to care”. However, that is not exactly true. While Millennials get most of the credit for caring about socially-conscious investments, it is actually the generation above them, Gen X, which is doing the most ESG investing. A big part of this fact is down to the reality that Gen X is still richer than the younger Millennials. Millennials still win in terms of the overall percentage who buy ESG investments, but Gen X is seeing assets in ESG funds surge quickly. Gen X consists of anyone aged 39-54 years old.
FINSUM: This is a pretty interesting statistic and one that could be useful to some advisors who might be nervous to propose ESG options to those 50+. That said, the desire for ESG investing often comes from the client.